You’ve never come across a banana cake as light and fluffy as my Banana Cream Cake, sandwiched with layers of caramel and cacao nibs.
Happy birthday to me!
When the excesses of Christmas are over, the new year becomes a time for lighter meals, the avoidance of alcohol and setting virtuous aims and goals for the coming year. It’s all very noble but if, like me, you have a birthday in January it’s not much fun.
Usually while everyone is going to the gym and cutting out booze, I’m desperate to go out on the town for cake and cocktails in celebration of becoming another year older and wiser.
In the past I’ve tried to swap regular butter and sugar laden cakes for beetroot brownies our courgette muffins but they always fall short of expectations.
This year I accepted that I should be reigning things in but there was no way I was missing out on having a proper birthday cake. To make myself feel slightly better about the situation I baked this light and fluffy Banana Cream Cake. It may still have been laced with sugar and fat but at least its bouncy, airy texture made me feel like I was eating air!
This Banana Cream Cake really does have a wonderful cloud like texture and couldn’t be further from its stodgy cousin, Banana Bread.
The trick is to whip the eggs on a really high speed for a good 5 – 10 minutes. It sounds excessive but you end up with a batter that is full of tiny air bubbles. The batter ends up with a texture not dissimilar to a chiffon cake.
When you come to adding in the flour you really do have to fold it ever so gently. You want to make sure that all of those air bubbles you have just whipped in to the batter stay there! If you are too heavy handed you will undo all of the hard work you’ve just put in.
Last but not least, swapping rich butter for vegetable oil means the batter doesn’t get weighed down with heavy fats.
Baking with bananas
I think the reason many banana flavoured bakes end up being so heavy is because of the banana. Whether you use ripe or over ripe bananas they have a cloying texture which, when left in lumps, never really breaks down. Instead the cake around the pieces of fruit just become sticky and moist with the bananas natural sugars and juices.
The difference with this cake is that the banana gets whisked to oblivion with the eggs! By the end of it you can just see flecks of banana as opposed to big chunks. It creates a really light and pillow-y batter with the flavour (but not texture) of banana running throughout.
It just goes to show that when baking with banana you don’t have to settle for something heavy and stodgy. Give this Banana Cream Cake a try and you seriously won’t look back.
Flavours of banoffee pie
As much as I love banana on its own, it tastes even better when paired with chocolate, caramel and cream.
You want to be careful not to overpower the banana and so I only spread a small amount of caramel between each layer. Cacoa nibs get sprinkled on top of this caramel meaning you have a really nice bitter crunch with every mouth full.
Last but not least, I’ve swapped my signature buttercream for a sweetened whipped cream which makes it even lighter on the palate.
This cake has not one, not two, but four layers. It’s a beautiful, tall cake which really makes a statement!
- 6 eggs (medium)
- 275g sugar
- 400g ripe banana, cut into small pieces (about 5 medium bananas)
- 300g self-raising flour
- 200ml vegetable oil
- For between the layers
- 200g caramel (or dulche de leche)
- 75g cacoa nibs (or dark chocolate chips)
- For the icing
- 350ml double cream
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 200g caster sugar
- A handful of banana chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
- Grease and line 4 6" round cake tins with grease proof paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and banana at a high speed until it has trebled in size and become light and pillow-y like a cloud. (See Note 1)
- Sieve half of the flour into the bowl and gently fold into the mixture trying not to destroy the air bubbles.
- Repeat with the remaining flour.
- Gently add in the oil (about a quarter at a time) and mix well until fully incorporated.
- Carefully spoon into the tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 - 45 mins (see Note 2).
- Place on a wire wrack to cool before starting to assemble.
- When building the cake, spread a couple of spoons of caramel on to the cake before sprinkling over some of the cacoa nibs.
- Stack each sponge and repeat.
- To make the whipped cream frosting take two bowls: in the first bowl whisk up the double cream until it has formed stiff peaks; in the second bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar until fully combined and smooth.
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
- Place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to help stabilise.
- Cover the cake with the whipped cream frosting and smooth the sides and top.
- Pipe swirls on top and around the base of the cake.
- Place a banana chip on top of each swirl, crowing the cake.
1. Persevere with the whisking on high. It can easily take 5-10 depending on the speed and power of your mixer. 2. You will know once the cake is ready to come out of the oven as it will be springy to the touch, golden brown and starting to come away from the sides of your pan.
Make a birthday wish
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